Sisters we need to talk..

About British Etiquette

We love to see a queue and join it!

The well known British art of saying one thing and meaning another…all in the aim of being polite!

The British are renowned for their quirky humour, cultural and language differences and let’s not forget the obligatory cup of tea for all occasions. So let’s talk about some of the ways British politeness might be confusing!

In our series of “Sisters lets talk about…” we covered British Etiquette

We have highlighted some of the points raised in this article, if you want to read more, sign up and join our Facebook community group


Yes it’s true! We love to form an orderly queue – in the supermarket, at the entrance to a museum and especially at the bus stop!
Pushing and shoving and not waiting your turn is absolutely not done – you will very likely find yourself subjected disapproving looks but rarely will anyone actually say anything. We might however ‘ tut’ under our breath and roll our eyes at a friend.

Saying Sorry

There seems to be endless situations when we British people feel the need to say sorry…..often when we think someone else should be doing so!
🌻 sorry – do you know the time?
🌻 “Sorry I’m late” when arriving on time if the other person has arrived earlier!
🌻 ‘Sorry I think that’s my seat?’ (Please move out of my seat!)
🌻 Sorry, that’s my foot (don’t tread on my foot, you fool)


It is perfectly normal to greet absolutely everyone you meet when out on a country walk. Hello, good morning, what a lovely day, enjoy your walk, hi there etc etc , but doing so whilst walking to the tube in London will inevitably gain you some strange looks


When driving one must always acknowledge the person who has given way to you. This can be a simple gesture of a hand up , thumbs up, or a flash of the lights . One must also acknowledge ones mistakes using the same techniques!


It is perfectly normal to be terribly polite about a meal that is undoubtedly substandard . “Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry but this meal isn’t what I ordered”
Or when the waitress asks you if you enjoyed the meal that was clearly overcooked and you’ve spent the last 10 minutes moaning to your companion about it , but instead you reply to the waitress …“Absolutely, it was delicious, thank you”

So on a more serious note as you see we often say the opposite of what we actually mean and inevitably this will be confusing for someone learning English and experiencing the UK for the first time…..if something doesn’t make sense please do ask – and we will probably not be able to explain why we do it either!

"Sisters we need to talk about..." Is a series of discussion topics hosted by Sunflower Sisters on their private community group on Facebook.  The group is open to ladies only and is a support group for both sponsors and guests, you can take part in the debate by joining our private community homepage by clicking the button below.

This topic was originally debated on Facebook on 16/08/2022 at 07:04am